What is body image? How do we perceive our bodies? How does everyone else perceive our bodies? What makes any one opinion or perception better or worse than the other?
There really isn’t equal ground on this topic. It depends on how you grew up, your culture, your beliefs, and so many other factors. I believe pop culture and the media play a big role in how we perceive ourselves and how we THINK we should look.
I grew up as the “husky” kid. I was the victim of teasing and taunting from numerous little shits on the playground and the school bus. Thunder thighs, husky kid, 4 eyes, bla, bla, bla. As you get older, you learn not to worry about what people think and you don’t let it affect you as much (or so you think). However, as a child those cruel words stay with you, for ever. I’m 28 and my stomach still turns when I see a yellow school bus or pass by an elementary school.
I can’t even count how many times I said I would go on a “diet” or eat better tomorrow. Too many times to count or mention. If it exists, I’ve tried it. I even did the Richard Simmons Deal a Meal back in the summer after 7th grade!
Looking back on pictures, I don’t quite understand why I was bullied. Because kids are just mean, evil little trolls? Because they are insecure and pick on the weaker ones? I don’t know.
I was not huge. I was not obese. I was not ugly. Ok, maybe I went through the awkward, ugly duckling phase for a few years around 4th grade . . . even my own mother didn’t give out my school pics that year. LOL. Seriously, she says she forgot. What ever mom!!!!
Anyways, back to body image. It really does toy with our heads. We tend to think it’s worse than it is. However, there was a point in time where I gained a ton of weight in a short period of time. I’m talking almost 100 lbs over the summer after high school. My highest weight was around 250!!!!
I was in complete denial. I just stopped wearing all 30 pairs of my size 11/13 Express jeans because I wanted to. Right. I started wearing stretchy everything because it’s comfortable. Right. Who was I kidding?
I don’t share this pic with many. It’s embarrassing but this is me back during those 250 days. I’m putting myself out there for all my readers because I hope I can help or inspire someone else.
I never had health problems until I stopped having a period for 9 months straight. I wasn’t pregnant; I was diagnosed with fat ass syndrome. Seriously, this scared me.
That put me in check. And I’m still on the path of learning and changing a lifetime of bad habits. I have come to terms that I will always be this way but I can control it.
Think about it. An alcoholic can never stop thinking about not drinking. When we struggle with our weight, we have to focus each day and create a game plan on how we are going to deal with it. Otherwise, we end up back in the same place we started at. It really is an addiction. An addiction we cannot live without! We have to eat!
Sometimes I look in the mirror and I still see that 250 lb girl. The one that literally felt awful and miserable. Then other times I see a picture of myself and realize that I have cheekbones and a jaw line again and that I’m not that girl. I’m still not physically where I want to be but I’m getting there and I’m a hell of a lot closer than I have been in years.
I tried on my old size 12 jeans last night and holy cannoli they fit!!! Now, they won’t button but they fit. I know if I’m back in those size 12’s that I’m not the huge person that I still see in my head. I’m still a work in progress and that’s ok. I feel good and I know I’m making changes and that is what is important. Something I never got before. This isn’t temporary.
Body image is a tricky topic and one that we have to work at constantly. It’s about conditioning our psyche not our body. It’s about changing our thoughts as we change our eating habits. It’s about accepting our flaws and loving our perfections too.
It’s a constant journey and experience, but as is life, right?
“Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality.”~Les Brown~